Sunday, March 30, 2008
My dad by his Model Tee, it all started with my grandfather needing a way to travel around the town of Palatine as the School Super intendant-Since we lived in a small town we had no way to keep a horse so the natural thing by 1929 was the auto-As a real small child my grandmother and I would ride with him from school to school. When his healthy took a sudden turn he had to give up the position and stay at home eventually taken to a bed. Without the income the $6.50 payment per month was more than they could afford-the depression was deepening so the bank allowed him to put the car on blocks of wood in the back yard and let them hold the keys-he could keep the car until he could afford to make the payments. By now I was old enough to play in the model "T" in my imagination I travelde all over, it was beautiful inside, on the post by the door was a carnival glass vase on each side-the rear window was oval and the seats were real soft mohair.
Econamey picked up and my dad was able to make the payments so he put it back on the road
Not long after he had to trade it. I suppose the big touring
car looked better than that model T coupe . By 1932 my father had taken the position with Baily Knitting mills that my grandfather had to give up due to the T.B lung infection, Business was getting better Baily's Knitting mill was again operating and dad was beginning to improve financially so the first thing was a different auto.
to full fill the American dream by the 1938 period we were becoming a traveling family- As the weather improved it was camp trips each weekend
I can remember on Friday afternoon we would pack up the car with everything we would need -on the floor in the front was a old coffee can were each person put in a dollar or and all expenses were paid from this-when it was depleted they would each put a little more in. We always stopped to Charly Schraders house, he was a butcher and you could buy 3 pounds of ground beef for 25 cents. then off to Northville a stop at the bakery and just down street was a ice cream parlor my mother would go in and get each person a pint of ice cream and a handful of wooden spoons, then on to the Wells Campsite were my uncle had a store and a littler piece of land on the river were we would set up camp. Then Sunday night take everything down and go home.-but this built a strong bond with the family.
In 1940 my uncle gave me the old ford that we used to go camping with-my first car and the beginning of a long love affair with Ford
Darwin is in the left and that is me on right
I presently have a 29 model A sport coupe and a 1965 Mustang 289 convertible in my garage just to look at.
afraid to drive them for fear they would get dirty
So our family drew much closer together thanks to the car it also made it possible to travel about New York State and visit the homesteads and cemeteries of our ancestors letting us learn more of our genealogy.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
His cloths show how much weight he must have been looseing.He was diagnosed with consumption and told to live in the Adirondacks-hence Pine Lake.
A hotel called "the Elms" located in our home town Nelliston was available so he leased it and in the fall opened for business-this building was located at the one and only stop light in the village on route 5 a triangle was formed by West main st and School st. you can see by the photo it has not yet been paved in 1924. You can see why they called it "the Elms" with the two beautiful elm trees in the front. [in 1932 it was moved across school st and placed next to the school where it stands today.
Some time before this my Father Edwin Lord Jr. and my mother Mary were married so my grandfather divided his home on 12 Berthood St. into a duplex this was nearing completion when he decided to lease the Elms, so when he built the stairway he had each stair tread made so the tread itself would slide forward when you pressed the head of a finishing nail under the step lip opening into a storage area about 10 x 10 30 inches wide. with some 12 steps a large load of glass bottles could be stored without discovery.
The Elms was the watering hole for the village , in 1928 a business directory list the Elms as a Soda Fountain shop and list my grandfather as Soda Fountain operator.
In 1925 a local distributor [Soda] J.C.Burns, delivered a shipment and it was delivered real late in the evening and secured in the storage area. My mother was pregnant at the time and Grampa selected one bottle and put it aside--
This was going to be opened when the baby was born [That's Me] happened 2 dec 1925 but in the confusion no one remembered to open it--So everyone agreed it would be opened when I graduated from school [its never been clear from what school] at any rate it never got opened and it is still on my shelf in the library. It was bottled in Wagners Hallow just past the old covered bridge there is a barn very near Caroga Creek, this was a Ch ease factory, but actually they brewed and bottled some of the best whiskey available all during the prohibition period.
So now comes the part that I played in all of this the bootleger, when the supply of "Soda"
[you young people reading this, sale of alcohol beverages was against the law prohibition you know]
got low at "The Elms" a message was sent to Berthood St. to take "bob" for some fresh air--My big wicker carriage was rolled out, the bottom filled with whiskey bottles and then I was placed on top [no wonder my back hurts all the time] and I got my fresh air ride to the hotel. look at the photo I am so high in the carriage its a wonder I did not fall out-there must be at least three rows of bottles.
By 1928 the pressure from the Tobacco and Firearms got so bad, with two arrest on his record, my grandfather sold out--It did not seem to affect his standing in the community he was made village Treasure, tax collector, also the Superintendent of Schools for town of Palatine. A job that I enjoyed since he took me in the model Tee with him, as he visited the small school houses all thru the town-Eventually he became bed ridden in 1934 I can just recall how sad it was when he had to sell his piano to make room for a hospital bed. he was gifted in that he could pick up any musical instrument and play any tune he heard, and never had any lessons-this did not come down in the family, my father took lessons on the piano for 7 years and the only thing he could play was "Mary had a little Lamb" Three years later My grandfather died of T.B. of the lungs.
Strange the reaction of people in the 1920's to Alcohol and how different it is today were marijuana's is the prohibited item---same actions today would have resulted in Felony arrest and jail time with children put in child custody I have never used alcohol or drugs but I wonder how right we are today.
Monday, March 17, 2008
As you work on your family history many times you will come upon ancestors that are above and beyond the norm. We are taught that the Lord will never give you more of a load than you are capable of
carrying, and then you read about someone like “Maggie Olyer”
Born 17 mar 1879 in Hastings County, Ontario Co., Canada. She was the 3 rd child of Anthony Moses Genereau and Margaret Jane LaValley. Moses as we will call him was 24 yrs old, French laborer- working as a lumber jack in the winter and in the brick yards in the summer, this meant the family was mobile in the year 1883, the family was in Cornwall, Ontario-by 1885 they are in Meadow bay,
Ontario, were her sister Louise was born. Then “Maggie’s” 10th birthday they were in MartinTown, Ontario 1889. Up until now there was little time to go to school-there were 8 children and a mother heavy with child , living in small house on the outskirts of Martintown. The father away in woods working. Then one evening in October there was a great deal of activity outside the home-the children were rushed off to a loft upstairs so they would not be part of it. There father along with a strange lady was in the kitchen both covered in black tar & feathers. Things quieted down but the lamp was on all night, the muffled moans and ugly words resounded all night.
When she awoke in the morning her life would change forever--he father was gone--her mother was crying, unable to join the family.
see my article family secret
In a few days “Maggie” was told to gather up her things and was sent to Cornwall, Ontario, she was 10 almost 11 and advanced enough in years to do odd jobs around a frontier home, so the Branson family took her in. From 1890 until 1895 “Maggie” worked for the Branson’s and lived with them in log cabin just across from the entrance to the Cornwall bridge to U.S.A. [I visited the cabin in the 1860’s] they were good to her, she even went to school a few days a week. While in school a boy using a pen tattooed her initials on her upper left arm M G with a small x below---he never got to finish with his initials the Branson’s put a stop to it.
Then good news 1895 just before Christmas her mother and Alex her brother were there after
her-everyone is being gathered up in a big slay, packed with all there belongings-cloths, blankets, food and some furniture they were all going to see Moses their father he was waiting for them in Malone , N.Y.
The poor horse was having hard time in the deep snow and ice covered river they had to keep
putting down pine bows so he could get his footing, at first it was fun - pick up the bows from the road behind you, run up ahead of the slay and lay them down, then back for more.
Maggie is now 16, her older brothers are not with them, the rest unite with there father, a family
meeting is held and everyone is told there name would be Cummings [He had worked for Jim
Cummings in Martintown] from that time forward they would not use Genereau , they left Malone, N.Y. and went to Spring Cove, N.Y.. There they find a small cabin at Camp #5, but its O.K., her father is the blacksmith and saw sharpener, mother is in charge of mess hall and “Maggie” is going to help her. Then one day Alex her brother arrived, he was using name of King, he moved in with the family and worked with his father now called Jim Cummings. Maggie went to her grave insisting her name was Cummings but she had given to much information about the family-a 30 year search revealed the truth.
There are no other girls here just her and her sister Louise, but the place is full of young French
lumber jacks--There are the 3 Olyer brothers Delbert, Riely, and Berlin. A couple of years go
by and then on 28 March 1904 Berlin Olyer and Maggie Cummings are married they move to
Waverly N.Y. [in 1900 Census] to live with his father John olyer and his family Maggie is 21. In
short period of time they move back to Spring Cove were Maggie starts a family from 1901 to
1904 she has 3 girls then in 1907 a son john is born and dies within the year . Then she has a
set of twins Forest and deforest, only a few days old they die. its in January so the twins are
dressed and placed in a room that is shut off from house, with windows open children are kept
frozen until spring when ground can be opened for grave.
Lumbering is dropping off, virgin timber has been cut off Maggie is upset over losing the
children so the Olyer boys go to Little Falls, N.Y. They all get jobs with the New York Central Rail Road. In 1908 Berlin moves family to Little Falls, N.Y. where Maggie has another set of twins Leslie and Louise, and another son Vernon.
My grandfather was a good provider-since Maggie made all the cloths for the children, in 1915 he bought her one of the new sewing machines. Somehow she ran the needle into the back of her right hand-in a few days she had a infection and local doctors were ready to remove the hand. My grandfather worked in the Switch yard NYCRR Albany, so he took her to Albany Medical center. A young doctor ask him if he could try something new-he might be able to save the hand-everyone agreed it went forward. They cut a opening in her upper leg-removed all the
flesh from her hand then slid it into the pocket type opening and allowed the flesh to attach itself
to back of hand . This was first skin graft in the Albany Medical Center-it was a success but
they were unable to do it as they do today. She always had a thick bump on the hand but was able to use it. For the next 30 or so years she would carry a towel or something to keep it covered..
In the fall of 1928 on a Saturday they cleaned up the Buick touring car [my Avitar], picked me up and before we left, sat me on the hood and took the picture. Then it was off to Cherry Valley, N.Y. about 14 miles away [big trip in
1928] to pick up vegetables’ for Maggie to "can" this was a annual thing - bags of potatoes, onions, apples, beans, carrots, the car was packed top put down so more could be put in. Gramp was at the wheel [much different than the hand car he used on RailRoad you had to steer a car] and I was on Maggie’s lap, about a mile out of Cherry Valley the then dirt road is cut out of a mountain,
the left side of road drops off in a very step grade around a mile from the road to the creek at the bottom. The fields are cress crossed with barbed wire and full of crab apple trees and brush-along with cattle. Gramp lost control of car on the curve and went over the side--the car kept picking up speed despite the shearing of brush, trees, plus the entangled barbed wire. Thank God the old Buick stayed on its wheels coming to rest on the other side of the creek only a few foot from another road. Maggie was covered with blood she was so scared
she had clinched her teeth with her upper lip between them completely bit off the upper lip - it hung by a tiny piece of flesh on one side.
Gramp quickly got rid of the barbed wire and drove the car onto the road--speeding into Sharon N.Y. were he found a doctor, they laid Maggie on a table and he sewed the lip back on. She never complained, her worry was all about the vegetables and how she was going to get them canned. Now she had to keep the hand covered and in almost every photo you will see she is shielding her upper lip.
In 1930 her father was very ill, she had 9 brothers and sisters but felt it was her calling to go to him, were she spent most of the summer.
She was a very active woman Monday thru Thursday she would visit the relatives there was a daughter in Albany, one in Syracuse, another in Little Falls, Amsterdam and Nelliston-she had a Railroad Pass and used it. She was always at home on Friday that was bake day. All during the
depression my grandfather must have had good income. She would bake hams, turkeys, beef and breads and dessert My grandfather came home for Saturday and Sunday, these days were devoted to him-always a speckled blue tea pot on the warming shelf of stove and endless supply of cinnamon donuts. Sunday was homecoming she would set the dinning room table [held 12 stout people or 15 regulars] as much as 3 times [kids ate at card table except me I always sat
to his right with each group ] it was at these gatherings my grandfather would tell family stories, I never saw her, Maggie set down and eat, there was always someone else she had to help.
After my grandfather passed away in 1944, her health began to slip, she had a kidney operation in 1945, then a few years later gallbladder.
1964 she was at my mother home, she left to go to Syracuse but never got there, we finally got a call from Martintown, Ontario, Canada she was to sick to come home on train, Vernon her son went and got her. I am sure she went to see Alex to try to persuade him to keep family secret.
See my article family secret
She passed away after falling and breaking a hip in 2 July 1965 Little Falls, N. Y. her dau my mother died 16 July 1965 Coopers town, N.Y. neither of them new the other one was sick.
In the article about Dexter is her wedding photo, at the beginning of this article is a photo of the old Buick incidentally I was never again allowed to ride when my grandfather was driving. He just had a hard time steering a car and the clutch was real foreign to him he drove a hand car on the rail road - no steering wheel and to go backward you just switched seats.
Here is a photo of Maggie at cabin located in Spring Cove taken in 1942 "maggie" is the one sort of slumped over in the doorway, probably depressed over the thoughts of this place that was once her home.
If you click on the photo it might enlarge
Again let me urge you to talk with the older members of the family you never know what photos or documents they might have to broaden the knowledge you have of the family
Thursday, March 13, 2008
A statement that I have used all my life and can recall all my uncles uttered it many times-I never knew who Dexter was but assumed he was a game warden or such, My grandfather Berlin Olyer and all of his brothers were great hunters, in fact Berlin shot his last deer on a trip with me in 1943 age 70, near Cooperstown, N.Y. I think the first time I heard the statement was from my grandfather when I asked why he carried a bullet in his pocket and he always had it with him like a good luck charm. After he passed away I lost it but it was a empty brass shell 30-06.
While on a record search with Ancestral.com I remembered "dexter" so punched it in the search engine for newspapers and what a chilling surprise -
Photo Margaret LaValle and Berlin Olyer wedding 1900 St Regis Falls,N.Y.
"the Malone Farmer" # 39 Malone,N.Y. Wednesday.Sept 23,1903
"At about 12:45 P.M. Saturday, Mr Orrando P. Dexter, a wealthy Connecticut gentleman, who owns a fine private lake and park and beautiful summer residence in the town of Waverly, started to drive to Santa Clara village, the nearest post office, His foreman, Mr Gile in company of another gentleman, had started out with a team a short time ahead of him, and Mr Russell, who is employed about the place, was hitching up another team when Mr Dexter started out alone for his mail. in his carriage. Mr Russell was still hitching up a few moments later when he heard two shots nearby. Thinking there were poachers on the place he immediately started out in the direction from which the shots came and had gone only a couple of rods from the place when he found the prostrate form of Mr Dexter lying on his back in the road, with a bullet hole through his body. There was still a temour of the muscles, but Mr. Dexter had expired. The horse which Mr Dexter was driving continued on untilll it overtook Mr Giles, who seeing nobody in the carriage, suspected that something was wrong turned back to find his emplyer. There was blood on the bottom of the carriage, a bullet hole through the back of the seat and a wound near the tail of the horse. Finding Russell and the body, the men removed it to Mr Dexter's home."
Mr Dexter was a wealthy bachelor, eccentric, and extremely jealous of his personal and property rights. A lawyer by profession and maintained a business office and legal residence in Norwalk,Conn. He did not practice his profession to any considerable extent except to pursue the poachers and native people who violated his private property. He had from time to time greatly increased his land holdings in Waverly and prosecuted relentlessly trespassers and poachers. Rumors that his life might be in danger were always turned aside with levity by Mr Dexter, who was without fear. He made so many enemies by his persistent litigation that it was only a matter of time before someone would act. Mr Dexter's aged father posted a $5,000 reward for conviction of the assassin. No one or nothing was ever found out. A few years after the death a old house in the area was being demolished and a rifle was found that was no doubt the weapon.
Although my grandfather Berlin Olyer was living in the area at the time I would hope he had no part in the shooting. Berlin lived in Spring Cove with his parents and brothers- he was 23 years old in 1900 census worked in the woods, lived of the land hunting and fishing as so many of the natives did. He married Margaret Jane Cummings a girl who worked in the mess hall of camp #5 were her mother was the cook and her father was the blacksmith and Sawyer. Berlin and his family left Spring Cove in 1908 after loosing a pair of twin boys, The lumber camp life was to much for my grandmother, by now she had 3 living daughters and 3 children who had died.-They went to Little Falls,New York were he went to work for the NYC Railroad,
But the resentment for "Dexter" must have been so strong he carried that cartridge all of his life,
Remember to add more interest to your genealogy follow every clue you never know what you are going to learn about the family, to us this was just a saying but imagine how embittered these people living in the area must have been - to Mr Dexter and makes one wonder how a piece of land can be important enough to cause people to so hate you they will take your life---
I plan on trying to take the saying out of my vocabulary. "This one's for Dexter"
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The photo is me setting on my great grandfathers knee and my grandmother in the background.As I have pointed out in the last few blogs the smallest of clues might some day unravel deep secrets of our families past.
My grandfather husband of the lady in the photo used to relate stories about the family when all of us were gathered on Sunday afternoon- one of these was never completed- I recall several times when he would start with "then there was the man that Mag's father shot" about that time my grandmother would rush from the kitchen with a stern voice "Berlin thats enough about that" and the story was never told.
By the mid 1940's I was fully immersed in genealogy- my grandmother would talk for hours about her child hood and her mother Margaret Jane La Valley, and her grandfather Michael LaValley but she knew nothing about her father "Jim Cummings" except he was a blacksmith in a lumber camp in Spring Cove.N.Y. She had a tattoo on her arm that was a big thing for me I had never seen anyone with a tattoo and would examine it every chance I got [it was about one inch high M G over a small X ] I used to ask her who it was and she said a boy did it but he made mistake and made a G instead of C.
In the 60's every time I mentioned the family she would cry then one day she disappeared, she had a life time pass on the railroad from her husband having worked for the NYCRR. she called from Martintown, Canada to sick to come home-My uncle went and got her but he could remember nothing or did not want to.
Maggie passed away in 1965 and with that i dropped the family then in 1969 [I owned a camp site and Recreation area called Pine Lake Park,N.Y.] some one visited our campsite and left me a penciled note-"if you are looking for Cummings should look at Genereau"
I felt like I was kicked in the stomach- got out my trusty wire bound note book and looked at the clues:
A. Maggies father shot a man ???[from grampa's unfinished stories]
B. Maggies tattoo was MG not MC ???
C. Last place Maggie went was Martintown,Canada
D. 25 years of research found no Cummings in Hastings
E.100's of hours and a lot of money researching the Cummings line there was no "J.
Cummings" in the Hastings,Canada Area of the right age.
Now some unknown person said look at "Genereau"
I wrote a letter to the Provincial Police Dept in Hastings and asked about a unsolved murder- a week later received letter from them that a elderly man named Alex King then 96 could tell me all about it he lived in Martintown. 24 hours later I was in the office of the Police and they took me to Alix Kings home and introduced me.
Alex liked me and we sat down in his living room and talked for several hours he told me he knew Moses Genereau and he knew him as Jim Cummings:
Let me relate the interview with some facts added:
Anthony Moses Genereau was born 1855 christened in St Michaels church of Arch Angel in Bellville. the last of 14 children of Dennis Genereau and Claris Dupuis. at age 20 he married 1875 at St Michaels Church, Margaret Jane LaValley age 16 daughter of Michael LaValley and Maria Herin, [she died 1867 when Margaret was 8yrs old] they lived in the Hastings area, Moses had a sister Sophia who married Michael LaValley in 1869 [making Margaret's sister in law her step mother ?? more about this in another post]
Moses worked in the woods in winter and in Jim Cummings Brick yard in the summer-Margaret stayed at home having a child every 2 years so bt 1890 there was 9 children Interview with Alix: in the fall of 1889 Margaret is home carrying the 9th child and Moses is at the bar entertaining Ann Macarthy, a young red head a fight breaks out over her and in the scuffle Moses pulled a pistol and shot one of the men, a colored fellow The towns people grabbed Moses and Ann stripped them naked, tied them to fence rails, poured tar over them and rolled them in a bunch of feathers from one of the mattresses- then paraded the two of them thru Martintown and when they reached what is now Alix's house they cut them lose and dumped them into the creek. old Moses got up on his feet and exclaimed "the best G--Dam ride I ever had"
According to Alix they came in the house this is late afternoon, it was necessary to use straight razor, scissors and lamp oil to remove the tar and feathers "ther wernt no hair left nether"and "she was quit plezin to the eye" before day light they slipped out of town and went west.
While Moses was away his wife had to give the children to other families as she could not support herself and 9 children, My grandmother went to Cornwall to live with the Bronson Family [Little log cabin is still on the property just opposite bridge entrance to U.S.
Five years later Alix went to camp #5, Spring Cove,New York to work, there was old "Mose"
but he was known as Jim Cummings and had his whole family with him in fact Alix moved in with the family. Jim Cummings, was blacksmith, a saw and ax sharpener his wife was cook in the mess hall . I posted a photo of her and the Spring Cove crew I suppose Jim is in there but do not know which one. everything was getting back to normal 5 more children were born in the U.S. giving them 14. As far as I can tell all of there children new about it but went along using the name Cummings.
Rather than hide this story I think its great to know despite all the odds this couple married at 20 and 16 with the exception of 5 years lived together all there lives and were still together in 1932 when they died just a week apart- It was a rough period of time the Hastings area of Canada was a frontier area, Moses or Jim worked in one of the toughest jobs in the world, I am only sorry that my grandmother had to live all those years in fear that it would be found out. There is no doubt in my mind she went to Martintown to talk to Alix [her brother] hoping to get him to keep the secret which she knew I would eventually uncover.
Again let me urge you to talk to your relatives and be observen't you do not know what clue may unlock the route to your ancestor, If I can help you in any way drop me a e-mail, or visit my web page at Ancestralhelp.com